A Tampa high school preps kids for the future

High school gets a little more blue collar

Together with

The Future. The Kirkland Ranch Academy of Innovation (KRAI) near Tampa, Florida is giving teenagers the opportunity to have a different kind of high school experience — one that’s essentially a trade school to create a pipeline to landing a skilled blue-collar job. Considering how hard it’s become for students with higher-education degrees to land their desired careers, KRAI may create a blueprint for an alternative form of schooling that focuses on the practical

Testing ground
For the 30 to 40% of high schoolers not planning on attending a four-year university, KRAI wants to give them the tools they need to land one of the 30 million well-paying jobs that don’t require a degree.

  • KRAI teaches crafts and trades such as engineering, robotics, welding, cyber security, biomedical science, and patient care, per Fast Company.
  • It focuses on making learning interdisciplinary, like learning how to design a bridge in engineering and learning about the history of bridges in social studies.
  • It’s also highly collaborative, such as assigning projects where electrical engineering and robotics students work together to solve problems.

Michael Kmak, the VP of CannonDesign (the firm that designed KRAI), says the Pasco County School District in Tampa took into account student, parent, and community needs when deciding how it wanted to organize the school and its curriculum — so everyone feels heard.

With its first year wrapped up, it’s possible the school’s students can’t wait for summer to be over.

David Vendrell

Born and raised a stone’s-throw away from the Everglades, David left the Florida swamp for the California desert. Over-caffeinated, he stares at his computer too long either writing the TFP newsletter or screenplays. He is repped by Anonymous Content.


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